We all overindulge from time to time – at Christmas especially we tend to get into the ‘swing’ of things and let our hair down. Also, at this time we can be enticed to try something other than our usual tipple – but then it’s more difficult to notice the effects until it’s too late.
While the best way ever to relieve a hangover is to not get one in the first place – if you halo does slip then yoga practices can come to the rescue. Take it slowly and be fairly deliberate with each pose – even if it is a rest – as that’s what your body needs.
Kneeling – Vajrasana
Settle yourself (use a blanket under the shins and/or blocks under your bottom to enable you to sit here comfortably). Watch the breath for 10 x in and out.
Recite your favourite mantra, ‘OM’ or “I try to find the right balance in all things” (a mantra for moderation – better late than never!) 10 times.
Work very gently to mobilise the spine. Follow the breath sinking the tummy down into the inhale and then as you exhale lift the tummy and lower the head. All movement should be slow and deliberate. This exercise will help to ‘breathe’ the body increasing the exhale process and getting rid of toxins and relaxing the muscles of the neck and back. Practice up to 10 times. If this exercise doesn’t feel right for your tummy or head tough, skip this and the down dog and go to straight to the Staff pose.
Headstand and handstand are the classic cure for headaches. However, if you have never done one before now is not the time to experiment. To do either of those postures takes many years to build up the correct strength in the whole body – and actually, you can get most of the benefits by doing the Down Dog. The way these postures help is to increase the blood flow to the head and neck areas (blood that has increased oxygen from the exercise before). So if, after the Marjariasana you are feeling OK, from a neutral position (hands and knees with the back neither up or down), take a breath in and on the out breath push your bottom back and up to make a triangle position. Keep your head sandwiched between your upper arms. Breath smoothly and slowly about 5 times and then lower down to hands and knees and then to kneeling.
Settle the body once more. Take 10 smooth breaths in staff pose, ensure the shoulders are over the hips, shoulders are relaxed and crown of the head facing up towards the ceiling.
Seated Spinal Twist
Twists have the effect of ‘wringing’ out the fluids in your abdominal area and are a great way to get toxins moving out.
From the Staff pose, cross one foot over the other leg. Hug the knee into the chest with the opposite arm and breathe in deeply. As you exhale twist the body around and place the free hand on the floor behind you. You can turn your head around too depending if this feels comfortable for you head and neck. Stay in the pose for around 5 deliberate breaths and then unwind on the inhale. Sit in the Staff pose for 5 breaths before taking the twist on the other side.
Complete the sequence with 10 breaths in the Staff pose.
When you practice yoga regularly you become closely tuned in to your body and are more able to read the signs of when enough is enough. Your tolerance to alcohol may actually lower due to the purification aspects of the practices. Yoga affects us in many different ways – some you appreciate and come to expect straight away but others you just don’t see coming and can be amazing. Do let me know if this sequence works for you.